LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - This week is Red Ribbon Week for many East Texas students. It's the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country.
These days, there seems to be one drug that children are under more and more pressure to use. In the past year, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of East Texas has seen more than 140 adolescents who were using marijuana.
"What we're seeing with the individuals or the students that come to us for help is marijuana as their number one drug of choice," Phyllis Grandgeorge, the executive director of ADAC, said.
Students from ages 12 to 17 are considered adolescents. These teens know there are age restrictions for tobacco, alcohol, and prescription drug use.
Well, to smoke you have to be 18, and most of us we're around that age, and we look older that what we really are," Jasmine Henderson, a senior at Lufkin high School, said. "And prescription drugs you have to have like an adult with you. Alcohol, you have to be at least 21."
Experts say it is just easier for students to purchase and smoke marijuana as opposed to other drugs like alcohol.
"Marijuana is easy access," Grandgeorge said. "You know they can buy it on the streets, or they can buy it from a friend, which is usually what happens, and you don't have to go into a store to purchase it. You're not IDed, and no one's asking your age or anything like that when you buy marijuana."
"People sell marijuana here around school and stuff, so it's just easier to get a hold on to," Henderson said.
Although many students are drug free, they are still pressured to smoke marijuana.
"Them offering me marijuana I feel is very detrimental because I have a lot to lose," Don'Etrick Houston, a senior at Lufkin High School, said. "I mean I'm involved in a lot of activities, and if they were to give drug test or things like that, I could be expelled and that's not something that I'm willing to do or take part of."
Marijuana is the number one drug of choice for the younger generation, but it's a drug that's in no way healthy.
"Many students think that they can start smoking and not become addicted," Grandgeorge said. "They do not have an understanding of the power of the chemical in it which is THC."
There are several groups students can get involved with for education on drug prevention such as Drug Free All-Stars, student council, and the KYSSED drug-free program.